I asked illustrator Jessica Warrick
to help me out testing print quality between Lightning Source and Createspace for her new book, 50 Happy Things. Previously, I’ve always heard that LS has slightly better print quality, but I haven’t recommended it because it’s a pain to work with and the assumed benefits aren’t really worth it.
HOWEVER, in this side-by-side test, the Createspace book for the full-color copies was the clear winner, both in paper quality and ink colors.
Lightning Source on left, Createspace on right:
Lightning Source: (paper quality noticeably suckier, see-through)
Createspace: (richer color, nicer shinier ink, better basic paper quality)
Lightning Source: (printing lines on some pages too)
This *might* differ for black and white interiors.
It could also depend on each company’s sourcing factory – also results can vary between batches.
I’d like to see more examples! If you’ve printed copies from both sources, let me know your experience and I’ll include your pics if you have them.